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Dissertation Defence: Human-riparian relating at valley-bottom: Modes, methods, and marshes

May 1 at 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Madeline Donald, supervised by Dr. Greg Garrard, will defend their dissertation titled “Human-riparian relating at valley-bottom: Modes, methods, and marshes” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies – Sustainability theme.

An abstract for Madeline Donald’s dissertation is included below.

Examinations are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in person exams.


This thesis is an investigation into human modes and methods of interaction with Okanagan riparian habitats. In it I tell two stories: 1) a story of doing research with riparian places, and 2) a story of a particular riparian place. The research is done by me, a visitor-scholar (non-Indigenous), and prioritizes the ethics of multi-being relations and multimodality in its formulation and communication. The second story explores the riparian place formed in the margins of Brandt’s Creek, at the bottom of the Okanagan Valley, in Kelowna, British Columbia and syilx territory. The riparian here is in the process of becoming, a product of its unruly heritage and the spectral ecologies that both precede and co-exist with it. The research process described is one of creating thickness in relationships to place—both mine and others’—by overlaying varied ways-of-being and doing. These methods were learned and developed in conversation with the riparian. In the semi-arid Okanagan, riparian habitats are the wettest place a non-aquatic being can be. As such, riparian places are important meshworks of multi-being relations and possibilities for habitation. They are also places of categorical inconsistency—seasonally contingent, neither land nor water—made marginal through settler colonial and capitalist practices of invasion and acquisition and an imaginary of place that relies on place-as-property. These two stories explore modes and methods for the analysis of settler colonial socio-ecologies—manifestations of relations between humans and the multi-being and diverse material worlds in which we live—with a focus on living sustainably in and among wetness.


May 1
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Arts Building (ART)
1147 Research Road
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7 Canada

Additional Info

Room Number
Registration/RSVP Required
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Environment and Sustainability, Research and Innovation
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates